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Holmes Picks Moses, Jesus Isaiah, Spinoza and Marx As Five Greatest Jews

Moses, Isaiah, Jesus, Spinoza and Karl Marx are named by the Rev. John Haynes Holmes, pastor of the Community Church, as the five greatest Jews of history, in an article contributed by Dr. Holmes to the Rosh Hashanah issue of the Jewish Tribune. Of Jesus Dr. Holmes says:

“I am not thinking of Jesus as divine, but only as human. I am classifying him in my mind not as a Christian but as a Jew. Indeed, it gives me a certain satisfaction to include the name of the Nazarene in my list of “greatest Jews,” for thus I am able to make plain my thought that Jesus is rightly to be remembered and acclaimed as a son of Israel. Jesus’ teachings were Jewish teachings, as his blood was Jewish blood. He remained to the end a member of the synagogue, and neither tried nor desired to found the church. No man would have been more surprised than he to discover that his life and thought had led to a separatist movement in Judea. Christianity, as a matter of fact, stems from Paul and not from Jesus or even Peter. The Nazarene thus belongs to the Jews as incomparably their greatest son. Let them claim him and use him as their own!”

Of Marx Dr. Holmes says that “his is the voice and spirit of the greatest revolutionaries of all times—the Hebrew prophets.” He believes that as a creative thinker Marx ranks second only to Darwin among the men of his age. In founding the international Socialist movement, Marx, according to Dr. Holmes, “initiated the most potent and far-flung revolutionary movement known to history.”

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